04/18/2019, 13.19
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Kim provoking again, test-firing a rocket before meeting Putin

The North Korean leader, who had not attended a test-firing exercise since November, set the "phased and strategic goals" for maintaining his country's munitions production. According to South Korean experts, the new weapon could be a newly developed short-range guided missile. The first meeting between Kim and the Russian president might take place next week.

Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has supervised the test-firing of a new tactical guided weapon, calling its development an "event of very weighty significance" in beefing up his regime’s military power, state media reported today.

This comes amid Russian and Japanese media reports that Kim and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet in Vladivostok.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the test took place Wednesday but did not specify what the newly developed weapon was.

For Kim, this was the first time he oversaw a weapon testing exercise since November. His visit to the testing centre came a day after he visited an air force unit.

North Korea’s strongman also set the "phased and strategic goals" for maintaining his regime’s munitions production, putting national defence science and technology on a "cutting edge level," and ordering "detailed tasks and ways to attain them."

According to South Korean experts, the new weapon could be a newly developed short-range guided or cruise missile. Kim's attendance at the test-firing may also be a warning to the United States.

The test-firing came after Kim suggested a year-end deadline for denuclearisation negotiations following the breakdown of the February summit with Trump in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, a Russian newspaper has cited a Foreign Ministry source saying preparations are under way for a summit between President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un next week, whilst a Japanese TV reported Kim's protocol chief was in the Russian city of Vladivostok.

According to some reports, the first summit between the two leaders is expected to take place ahead of Putin's trip to China for an international conference on 26-27 April.

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